Nature:-Gonorrhoea is becoming as incurable as it was in the 1920s, before the first drugs to treat it were discovered.
More than 60% of countries surveyed around the world have reported cases that resist last-resort antibiotics, according to an announcement by the World Health Organization(WHO) on 6 July.
The announcement included information about a new gonorrhoea drug in development.
Since the 1930s, several classes of antibiotics have been used to kill the bacterium that causes gonorrhoea, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Widespread use — and misuse — of these drugs, however, has led to a rise of antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria.
“The best time to have had gonorrhoea was the eighties, since there were many drugs to treat it with,” says Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Washington DC. Increasingly, that’s no longer the case, he says.
Health agencies in the United States, Europe and Canada have in recent years flagged drug-resistant gonorrhoea as an emerging threat.
If left untreated, gonorrhoea can increase a woman’s risk of developing HIV infection, infertility or ectopic pregnancy — among other effects.
When the WHO partnered with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), a non-governmental organization in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 2016 to confront antimicrobial resistance, gonorrhoea was at the top of the list.